Democrats & Liberals Archives

Healthcare Now or Never

For years Americans have been complaining about their healthcare. For years Democrats have been trying to achieve healthcare reform to benefit all. For the same years Republicans have been verbally for reform but in actuality have been working to prevent any real change. Now that Obama is on the verge of achieving true healthcare reform, it is not Republicans but so-called Democratic “centrists” blocking the way.

I understand why some Republicans are ready to discard the needs of Americans and try their best to stymie Obama's most important initiative: Republicans feel that if Obama loses on healthcare his political star is shot, thus opening doors to the return of Republicans to power. These Republicans don't care about the people; they are concerned only with gaining power. Here is exactly what Senator DeMint said with reference to healthcare:

If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.

DeMint could not make his position any clearer. But he is a Republican. What's the excuse of the so-called Democratic "centrists": Sens. Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor?

These Democrats have not learned their lesson and don't seem to understand the damage they are causing:

Mark Kleiman noted that a few too many Democrats seem to have forgotten the recent past, and worse, seem oblivious to the larger electoral dynamic.

For Gingrich and his allies, the health care debate wasn't really about health care: it was about destroying the power of a Democratic President.

It's not surprising that the Republicans have remembered that lesson, but it's disappointing that the "centrist" Democrats have forgotten it. This bill is make or break for the Democratic Party....

Republicans are eager to delay, delay......delay.....to stop the positive momentum achieved up to now. President Obama is reacting sharply saying Congress must pass health bills before the August recess. Richard Orszag, the head of Obama's Office of Management and Budget pushed back:

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Orszag labeled the attempts to push back the health care reform timeline as a "typical Washington bureaucratic game of if you don't have a better alternative just delay in hopes that that kills something."

It's time for President Obama to take off his gloves. The Republicans have made it extremely obvious they are not interested in achieving decent healthcare reform. Bipartisanship did not work. Forget about Republicans. Apply pressure on "centrist" Democrats. Make it clear that if they prevent us from achieving robust healthcare reform their political lives are doomed.

Either we achieve healthcare reform now or we will be deprived of decent healthcare. It's now or never. Let these wayward "centrists" know how you feel. NO DELAY!

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 19, 2009 3:45 PM
Comments
Comment #284711

Paul:

You’re absolutely right - it really is now or never. If we’re to do the right thing and give every American the right to some kind of healthcare, it will be under Barack Obama. Sadly it’s not only Republicans who take money from the organizations who are in the business of health (I can’t in good conscience call them health’care’ companies).

According to the Huffington Post, Lieberman has taken $1 million from health professionals and insurance companies over his career, as well as more than $600,000 from pharmaceutical and health product companies and $250,000 from health services and HMOs - all of which oppose anything that eats into their vast profits. When you’re in the hole to the healthcare industry for a couple of million bucks, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or a sniveling weasel (just a pet name for Joe) - you’re going to do what your paymasters tell you.

Government by corporation… chances are, it’ll win again.

Posted by: Jon Rice at July 19, 2009 4:27 PM
Comment #284715

Democrats control the House. They control the Senate with a filibuster proof majority. They control the presidency and most journalists are pro-democratic. Democrats have it all. You cannot blame Republicans if Democrats cannot get it together.

But you are right that Democrats need to get it together. We need a Scandinavian style health care system. That means that we will have de-facto rationing and the care received by well-insured people now will decline - BUT everyone will be insured and it will be cheaper.

It is dishonest to say that we can cover everybody w/o raising taxes or cutting benefits. The Scandinavian systems cost less. Benefits are lower, but they still live longer.

Most of the cost of people’s health care comes from heroic efforts in the last year of life and/or by saving people in truly dire situations. Only the American system does this. We have to make the hard choices to just say no. (or maybe just say yes to pulling the plugs).

Posted by: Christine at July 19, 2009 6:16 PM
Comment #284718

Yes we need change to our health care system, but after 6 months to ram a plan through congress is not a good idea. This is something that needs bipartisan support and more importantly middle of the road Democrat support or it ain’t never going to fly.

Posted by: KAP at July 19, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #284720

Bipartisan support is a myth. Our system of government is designed as a power struggle, nothing more. Some people care about the people, but the parties themselves are simply brands vying for control. When the heads of parties threaten to punish members who don’t get in line and follow suit, what sort of bipartisanship can ever be possible.

Still, I wholeheartedly agree that something this massive needs to be picked at with many fine-toothed combs. This isn’t something to “push through” just to appease the people or the base. If Obama, and his health care reform supporters actually do care about doing something to help America and not just get a few more votes next time around, they should take their time. Things are not great here, but it’s not like spending a year going over the bill and making sure it’s perfect—or as perfect as it could get—would make things worse. They need to take the time due such an important task!

Posted by: Mike Falino at July 19, 2009 7:32 PM
Comment #284721

Mike
Bipartisian support may be a myth I do agree that congress needs to hash over this reform for more than just 6 or 7 months, a year to a year and a half would probably result in a better plan.

Posted by: KAP at July 19, 2009 7:49 PM
Comment #284722

Part of the problem is that politicians know that we as a people have come to crave magic wands. Meaning, that we are so incapable of having patience for anything that we expect reform such as what has been proposed to happen in the blink of an eye. Then, when it is found that the plan was bad, we all get in an uproar over “why didn’t they take their time?” It’s an unfortunate paradox that has been fully taken advantage of by politicians.

Pretty much no legislation is even close to perfect, because it get’s pushed through. And perhaps this is a problem of the public being kept apprised of legislation. We get so sick of hearing about it for months with no result that we start to get fed up and “just want something”.

Every single problem we have that our politicians take advantage of is a direct result of the average person’s ignorance of the subject, and lack of patience for change. We demand fast food legislation and that’s what we get!

Posted by: Mike Falino at July 19, 2009 8:53 PM
Comment #284723

Again Mike I agree. I’m content with having the insurance I have until congress can come up with something better even if it takes 1,2 or 10 years.

Posted by: KAP at July 19, 2009 9:14 PM
Comment #284726

Christine,

Wow, we agree again. I’m checking my star charts for ominous signs.

Posted by: gergle at July 19, 2009 10:26 PM
Comment #284731

Paul:

The only sober people I see in Washington DC right now is the Congressional Budget Office. They might force Congress and our President to view Healthcare realistically with what will work.

What good is passing this type of healthcare reform and bankrupting the government?

Joe Biden has a role, it’s to make Dan Quayle look respectable. “We need to spend all this money to prevent us from going bankrupt!!” Only a politician would say something like that.

Health care reform can happen, and we can cover everyone, but not without rationing.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 20, 2009 10:38 AM
Comment #284735

“What’s the excuse of the so-called Democratic “centrists”“

Seems to me they are actually listening to those they represent instead of pushing an agenda they think is best for those they represent. I know many real Democrats who want nothing to do with govt run healthcare and they do let their reps know that. I myself email everyday letting them know that I will vote against them if they vote for this crap.

The leftists need to stop making pitiful excuses for their nanny state plans, listen to ALL of us and come up with a fair plan that we ALL can accept. Either do that or leave us alone.

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #284737

a fair plan repubs can agree on? what are you from mars. repubs have made it clear that they will not help obama, and as a matter of fact hope he fails. there is no middle of the road. 1, 2 or 10 years - that is what they said to clinton, and still no healthcare system.

repubs are dead set against helping the needy. they have proved that w/their brand of compassionate conservatism that left food shelters empty, no health care plans. we can not wait another day. no more turning noses up to the poor and needy in this country. tax the rich and feed the poor until there are no poor no more.

once again it’s “you’ll bring this country to it’s knees” - if we help one poor person. well, if you haven’t guessed, i for one am willing to prove you repubs wrong once again. just like slavery - “oh it will devastate the south - it will financially ruin us”. we as a country are willing to roll the dice - and guess what we will once again NOT be financially ruined.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 20, 2009 1:26 PM
Comment #284738

Good for you and righteous indignation, bluebuss!
We just need to hope that the sentiment catches on in great numbers and with greater speed.

Posted by: jane doe at July 20, 2009 1:53 PM
Comment #284739

Actually bluebuss, I said a plan in which we ALL can agree on, not just what the Republicans or Liberals want.

You see, Paul here is blaming everything but the plan itself. It has to be those spooky evil Republicans or bought and paid for centrist Dems, no way can it be the govt run liberal plan. Well, I call BS. Millions of Republicans, Independents AND real Democrats do not want govt run healthcare and they are letting their representatives know that.

“no more turning noses up to the poor and needy in this country”

Why? Because its morally wrong to do so? I thought it was wrong to use govt to force morals onto others? Or is it “different” in this case, just like it was with the Obama and every other leftist issue?

“i for one am willing to prove you repubs wrong once again”

How so? Is the left going to actually support what they “say” is the right thing to do, instead of using govt to force everybody to do it for them?

Seriously man, ef the Repubs or ef the Dems is not going to work. We must work together or thats it.

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2009 2:04 PM
Comment #284740

Jane Doe, it would be GREAT if the sentiment catches on in great numbers, but should govt legislate that sentiment? In a free country?

Posted by: kctim at July 20, 2009 2:06 PM
Comment #284743

It would be interesting to look at liberal utopia whereever it is in the world on healthcare.

I would really like to see Univeral healthcare without rationing modeled somewhere.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 20, 2009 2:50 PM
Comment #284745

I don’t think it’s so much universal coverage. It’s more that reality was not a part of the national campaign. Now that actual budget figures are out there, the public is moving away from Obama’s healthcare proposal.

Basically, if I understand it correctly, if we follow Obama’s plan, game over, the country is heading toward financial ruin.

On the other hand if we approach the issue in ways that work, it violates what Obama campaigned on, (no tax increase for those under $250,000).

It’s sort of looking like the old bait and switch.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 20, 2009 4:32 PM
Comment #284769

Christine,
In making the hard choice would you support a bill that eliminated all Healthcare Insurance in America? For in pulling the plug not only would America free up one dollar out of every six dollar spent in the economy, but we would say the taxpayer trillions over the long run. Because if you are willing to tell the Working Poor they cannot have healthcare than it is only fair to tell the Lazy Rich that they can go to Canada or England to get their medical needs.

No, I do not agree with Paul that it is now or never over healthcare reform. Yet, I do believe it is time for the average American to wake up to the fact that Congress must look at what would happen to Americas’ Healthcare if all of a sudden we would start spending $.50 cents out of every six dollars on the same Medical Facilities built over the last 30 years.

Yes, America can have the best Healthcare in the World, but it will not happen by letting the Idiots in Charge tell the Idiots in Need what is best for them. For you see healthcare starts with the Individual knowing how to treat what is wrong or have an intellegent conversaion with the Doctor. For go look up the problems that are related to telling your Doctor that you have a headache. WebMD lists over 2,000 results and I’m sure there are more.

So, while reform in the idea of eliminating fraud and cost savings may be a good start for Government. If Americans are serious about lowering the cost of healthcare coverage than it is going to take changing the rules on how medical attention is given and taken. For by simply giving hospitals the right to open up 24/7 Urgent Care facilities in or beside their ER, billions if not trillions could be cut from their budgets over the next ten years.

However, by cutting those funds would we eliminate the hospitals ability to get and maintain cutting edge technology? Thus, the double-edge sword shows its ugly head once again. And why I do believe such a problem can be dealt with by allowing the hospital to once again be mostly funded by Trust Funds. I do believe you will find it hard for Democratic and Republican Representaives to support an idea that would lower the cost of insurance while increasing the need for more and more staff that is trained and well paid.

Of course I could be wrong!

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 21, 2009 5:38 AM
Comment #284770

When one out of every three dollars spent on healthcare do nothing to make people well in the for profit system we have a huge problem. The current system is horribly broken and it has real consequences on people’s lives.

The health care industry has spent millions on a propaganda campaign using such red herrings as rationing (people already are on rationed health care through either insurance company denials or self rationing because of cost). Putting the government between you and your doctor when it is the insurance companies who are currently in this position making decisions on your health based on profits. When government managed health care works well in almost every other developed country in the world they try to tell us that it will be our doom. In addition, the CEOs of these companies take home obscene salaries - the top 10 CEOs salaries would pay to insure 100,000 people. When it comes down to it they are afraid of a public option because they might not be able to compete with a fairer system for service and price and still keep their 10 million dollar salaries. They call it a reckless experiment (the Chairman of the GOP said this) when what is reckless is to let 47 million people go without coverage, continue to let CEOs suck millions out of the system and do nothing in response.

People are calling for bipartisan action and blaming the liberal democrats for not being bipartisan. That is a joke. The one’s not being bipartisan are the disingenuous Republicans and conservative Democrats who take millions from the health industry and pretend they have our interests at heart.

Posted by: tcsned at July 21, 2009 7:53 AM
Comment #284773

Mind if I ask a few serious questions, Tom?

Any idea of what percentage of Americans are satisfied with their current healthcare plans?
Why would govt rationing be better than self-rationing?
Why is it good to have govt between patient and doctor but not an insurance company?
Does this “public option,” really give one a true option? Will I have the option to pay for the one of my choosing and not waste money on the other?
Why are Republicans and real Democrats “disingenuous,” when their lack of support for govt healthcare is in line with the people?

Posted by: kctim at July 21, 2009 9:24 AM
Comment #284774

tcsned - perfect. spot on.

kctim - how do we get republicans on board? health care option for all is what they are against (at least this week). we are telling you that 47 million americans need health care - repubs say “can’t be done”. well, we are going to push thru a system. yes, push.

if it is a disaster as advertised, stand back and let it pass. if it is so financially irresposible let it pass, and repubs will get what they want an obama failure. but deep down they know it is a bill that will bust huge profit margains for the elite healthcare brokers.

and yes, it is a moral issue to ignore the poor. helping the poor is not forcing morals on anyone. yes, i would rather my tax dollars be spent on shelters for american homeless than rebuilding iraq. but since our last president bombed iraq we now have to rebuild iraq, and help the poor in america too. these funds need to be found and we know we can not rely on trickle down economics.

but, i would like to ask why such distain for helping the poor in america? why slash funds, why against providing healthcare, why?

Posted by: bluebuss at July 21, 2009 9:26 AM
Comment #284777

bluebuss:

I don’t so much think we are saying it can’t be done. I think it can’t be done the way Obama told the American People.

First of all there is no money. We are right now on the way to bankruptcy. So to propose a plan that simply makes bankruptcy come sooner is hardly progress.

The answer of course is to fix the fiscal problems first.

Adding weight to a lame horse only makes the horse “lamer”. Get the horse healthy and then take another look.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 10:33 AM
Comment #284782

From what little of the “plan” we’ve seen the whole effort is a sham. It does nothing to address the hard issues we face with the skyrocketing costs of health care. When you hear things like “if you like your current health care you can keep it” and “only the rich will see tax increases” then you know you’re just being sold another “too good to be true” infomercial.

Why aren’t the progressives here crying out for single payer instead of this public option crap? At least single payer is a solution to cost containment, although I believe it’s not the best solution. But Obama took single payer off the table before the table was set and you guys seem to be fine with that.

With a mixed system of private and public insurance, you can not contain health care provider costs using the pocketbook approach of the payer. Costs from providers will just be shifted between the public plans, the private plans, and the end user patients. Increasing demand by adding end users, without the ability to control delivery costs, will bankrupt us. Period.

The employer provided private system can no longer coexist with a public, cost reimbursement system. That’s the problem, and the first thing Obama says to half the country trapped in the employer system is you get to stay put. Great.

As Craig states, it’s the public option solution that is losing support not the idea that reform is needed.


Posted by: George at July 21, 2009 12:00 PM
Comment #284783

bluebuss
You are talking about Republican and real Democrat reps and ignoring those who vote for them. If you can get the everyday Republican and real Democrats on board, they will voice their support for the bill and their reps will vote for it or risk losing their next re-election.
Is govt run healthcare going to be the 2nd Amendment problem the left had before? Force or ‘push’ the bill thru and you could see the early nineties all over again.

“and yes, it is a moral issue to ignore the poor.”

I agree, but it is an individual moral issue.

“helping the poor is not forcing morals on anyone”

It is when you forcefully take others money to do so.

“but, i would like to ask why such distain for helping the poor in america? why slash funds, why against providing healthcare, why?”

Honest and fair questions.
I have no disdain for helping the poor, not one bit. But stealing from one and giving it to them is not what this country was founded on and it only promotes that way of life.

Why slash funds? Because our country is in terrible debt and needs to right itself. All these govt programs intrude on individual lives and only ad to that debt. They also have created a nation of dependents where everybody expects govt to do for them, rather than doing for their country.

Why against providing healthcare? Because it is govts job to run govt, not lives. You also must punish all in order to cover some, just as social security does, and that is not what this country was founded on.

If govt is going to “provide” everything to us, then it needs to do it right and make a Constitutional admendment that says so.

Posted by: kctim at July 21, 2009 12:38 PM
Comment #284786

I do think we are further along as a lot of the campaign crap has been exposed by the CBO, as we have real legislation being considered. Now we will be looking at real numbers with real unintended consequences measurable.

Personally, I think affluent future retirees should have their benefits clipped to help with this issue. By saving these future dollars we can move away from financial ruin and help the young.

Right now, democratic leadership are passing the costs to the affluent through taxes and the young through borrowing. I am a very strong no on new spending until we take care of our children’s future by fixing what is already on the books. Why take on more issues (uninsured) when we cannot keep the promises already made?

Biden is such a classic politician. Only a politician would say we need to spend lots of money to avoid bankruptcy.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 1:19 PM
Comment #284787

I also think we are paying enough as a country on healthcare. Some of these debates are simply political gotchas. (some on this thread).

For instance if you look at basic coverage, there should be enough $$. And as long as the doctor/patient etc are looking under a list called “basic coverage”, my guess is that there is plenty of $$.

However, when we go beyond this list to demanding extra stuff, as in “I want state of the art and I want it now”. Or “I want extra opinions” etc, then I am wondering the national interest of such expenses.

Also near the time of death, I wonder if there is more reasonable care. The biggest costs are in the last two years of life.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #284788

Maybe not Never, but, definitely NOT NOW, in the form the Democrats are fashioning in the House.

Obama asked for health care reform which was deficit and debt neutral in the short and long run. That is NOT what Democrats in Congress are fashioning. They see this as an opportunity to pork up, and placate reelection supporters and donors for 2010, while bankrupting the nation’s future.

Democrats need to give Obama what he asked for or, independent voters whose polling is falling for Obama on this issue will soon discover it was not Obama’s doing, but the Democrats in Congress who are trying to bankrupt the nation in an all out hurry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 21, 2009 1:51 PM
Comment #284790

This looks like the same thing as the stimulus bill. Here we have the recession bottoming and soon to start growing and the stimulus bill is only just beginning. So basically because Congress wrote the bill, we get more debt and stimulus after the recession is over.

The good news for Congressional Democrats is that they have bought off some votes.

Obviously, letting Congress write these large bills is a huge miscalculation.

Change?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 3:06 PM
Comment #284792

Kctm,
You ask about slashing funds, yet where are the Blue Dog Democrats and Hardline Republicans who realize that Companies could lower the million dollar bonuses to their CEO’s and Top Management to pay for the higher health costs of Labor and Management and write it off as a Tax Credit or Deduction?

For why the Left and Right can cry all they want about what or who is to blame. The fact that an insurance policy costing only $160.00 a month ($1,920.00 per year) if taken from after tax dollars lowers even futher the purchasing power of the American Consumer which in turns lowers the profits of the Corporations makes it almost impossible for those working at or near $10.00 per hour able to afford health insurance. Because given the option of feeding your family today or worrying about a medical bill sometime in the future should be a no brainer.

However, I have not heard one Blue Dog or Republican talk about increasing wages of the Uninsured to help them pay for any Healthcare Insureance or create their own Healthcare Savings Plan.

And by the way, saying that you have private healthcare insurance when your Employer is paying for it (or the majority of the cost) is misleading at best and in My Opinion a joke. Because if the Employers (and make no doubt about it is the one the Democratic Party is addressing) can lower their Health Insurance Bills than Americans can be competitive in the Global Market. GM is a good example of the problem faced by most Americas’ large and small business owners. And why that may help create jobs in the future, I do agree with David that once the rain begins to fall and people see who and why some politicians are trying to stop Obamas’ Idea of Healthcare Reform. Those in Congress are going to pay a heavy price in 2010 for trying to milk more money out of the American Taxpayer.

For can anyone tell me Obamas’ Healthcare Plan? Because other than covering as many Americans as possible and doing it in a Deficit and Debt Neutral manner, what other restictions has he placed on Congress. In fact, can you show me where he has said A, B, C or X, Y, and Z will be done or he will not sign the Healthcare Reform bill into Law?

No, the Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans stand with the President as far as having No Pulic Plan on exactly how to carry out Healthcare Reform in America. However, unlike the President of the United States which is suppose to set guidelines for Congress to follow. Those who stand against Congress fixing the run away costs or want to promote a Waterloo do it more out of Self-Interest and not because they have ideas that will help All Americans have access to better medical treatment at reasonable cost.

For if a little of something is always more than all of nothing. Where is the Blue Dog or Republican plan that will allow those Americans who can show financial hardship to purchase Healthcare Insurance Coverage for Pennies on the Dollar? Instead of insisting that Government has to find the Taxpayers Dollars to keep paying for the million dollar bonuses of CEO’s and top management?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 21, 2009 3:11 PM
Comment #284796

kctim - sorry I was at work and couldn’t write back sooner. I never mind answering questions.

“Any idea of what percentage of Americans are satisfied with their current healthcare plans?”
I don’t know how what the percentage is but I would assume that the number would be pretty high of those insured as most people don’t have serious illnesses that cause all of the things that are wrong with the health care system to come into play. I would say that at least 15% of the population is very unsatisfied as they have no health coverage at all, and another 15-20% who are underinsured and probably another fair amount who has been ripped off by their insurance company. This number will go up as someone gets laid off from their job and loses their insurance.


“Why would govt rationing be better than self-rationing?”
Neither is good - self-rationing means someone doesn’t get needed treatment or needed prescription medication because they can’t afford it. Or it is not getting screened for serious illnesses that can be treated cheaply if caught early. The idea that the government will ration your health care comes from insurance industry propaganda not from any legislation or proposed policy.

Why is it good to have govt between patient and doctor but not an insurance company?
For one, the government doesn’t get a multi-million dollar bonus to deny you health care. If laws are put in place those making decisions will have clear, public guidelines as to what acceptable practices to give the consumer at least some recourse and process that will not be decided by someone with a financial stake in the game.

Does this “public option,” really give one a true option? Will I have the option to pay for the one of my choosing and not waste money on the other?
To be honest, I don’t know how all of this will end up - if I were writing the bill it would be for single payer not for profit for everyone. There is going to be a cost for covering 47 million people who currently are not covered but considering the long term societal cost that we have been incurring in the for profit system I would rather pay more to have everyone covered.

Why are Republicans and real Democrats “disingenuous,” when their lack of support for govt healthcare is in line with the people?
I say they are disingenuous because they are saying what they are saying because they have all been bribed by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to carry their water. I don’t think it is a coincidence that those most loudly against a public option are the same ones who have taken millions of dollars from these industries. They use the language and talking points straight from the industry propaganda and repeat it in front of every camera they can. If what they are saying is in line with “the people” it is largely because the propaganda being fed to everyone has been deceptive but effective. I’m not saying that there isn’t a rational argument against a public option because I’m sure there is. But the insurance companies and their stooges in Congress won’t stop pushing lies on the people long enough for an intelligent, objective debate on the facts.

Posted by: tcsned at July 21, 2009 5:57 PM
Comment #284797

Henry:

I am apposed to this process because of my children. If we dramatically increase the size of government we dramatically lower the potential growth rate of our economy which reduces our children’s chances of having the kind of a life you and I have enjoyed.

Instead of increasing the size of government expenses, I support raising the retirement age of future retirees. In addition I support looking at the formula that calculates SS benefits, and rebalancing it based on income. The reason is that the affluent live longer, and so they get a higher benefit per dollar than do lower income citizens. I also support means testing for Medicare.

Not for current retirees, but future affluent retirees.
I also support taxes on sugar pop, and am open to taxes on certain fats.

Right now, longevity does not cost much. When we change society so that if science adds a year to our longevity it means we work say 9 months more all of a sudden their is a cost. When paying for medicine costs at the pump (Pop machine), we will think about it.

At what point do we look at working more years? do we look at it when we live to be 150? How many years do we expect our young to support us in the future? How much of a life span is it just to expect a person to work? Right now if someone works 40 years and lives 80 years that means 50%. Where is the magic number? I think the magic number is when we pass on to our children the same opportunity that we have had. Right now we are passing on debt and an declining country.

If we tax behavior that costs society and work longer, we can insure the poor without dramatically increasing the federal budget, and can pass on to our children a country with the same opportunities that we have had.

Right now baby boomers are in power and are trying to find a way to give the bill to the rich through taxes and the young through debt. Everyone pays but the boomers. It is morally wrong what we are doing.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 6:12 PM
Comment #284798

Take a look at this:

Table 1

Labor Force Participation Rates of Men Age 65 and Over

Year Labor Force Participation Rate (percent)
1850 76.6
1860 76.0
1870 ——-
1880 78.0
1890 73.8
1900 65.4
1910 58.1
1920 60.1
1930 58.0
1940 43.5
1950 47.0
1960 40.8
1970 35.2
1980 24.7
1990 18.4
2000 17.5

The reason people worked was of course because they had to. Now participation rates have changed direction and are about 20% heading higher, (US census).

So where is the problem? If 76% of men over 65 in 1850 had jobs because they needed to to support themselves, where is the crisis if say 50% do in the future? Answer is that there isn’t a crisis except between our ears.

One reason they worked was so that they wouldn’t be a burden on their children. Well duh, we are scheduled to become a huge burden on our children.

So we should fix the problem. Increase the participation rates of those over 65 so that we leave our children with the same opportunities we have enjoyed.

Google retirement and depression and look at what you see. I think our generation should take the burden off our children by working a few more years. If they could do it in 1850 we can do it now.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 6:32 PM
Comment #284799

i think that the amount of people over 65 in 1850 if far less than that of today. like maybe 3 as 3,000,000. not sure but that would be my guess.

and, nobody knows how to increase gov’t like a republican. did you vote for bush? did you scream and holler when he let the debt go into the trillions? did you go to the booth again and vote him in a second time? did you not think his spending was costing your children? did you question that spending? did you buy into the tax breaks for the wealthy, and that “they” would take care of the poor? you see bush pushed his “morals” to the people and it failed miserably. he thought “give rich a tax break, and they will show america how compassionate they will be w/their money”. didn’t happen.

repubs took away the right to bargain for rx pricing. now - they are like “we will give you bargaining power for rx”. too late. once again repubs have fallen short. repubs have squandered their power. steam rolled over americans. for money. now we have someone that really wants to change the situation. and we are tough, we can be called “communists, socialist”, and most importantly insured. this needs to pass, and it should have passed 20 years ago.

it is truly a shame that i can not express my thoughts well enough to get thru to you. i guess when i see a homeless person, i will go out of my way to help w/food and money - and another would cuss and complain that they are “begging”. those differences i guess are to vast to understand.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 21, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #284802

bluegrass:

I think you express yourself pretty well.

Republicans have been very guilty of expanding debt. The time when America recently has had it the best on debt was when we had a Republican Congress and a Democrat (Clinton) president.

Right now though we are in a different league. Obama’s plans make Bush look tight. Admitedly Obama inherited the worst financial situation in a generation, but he is using this crisis to expand government at a rate unheard of in decades. So that needs to be reigned in.

I think Obama is being reigned in as the polls are showing people walking away from him pretty quickly.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 7:53 PM
Comment #284805

Craig,

I’m guessing you are a young man. As previously pointed out fewer people lived that long in 1850.

Few actually live that long today as well, the percentage has gone from about 3% to 7%.

As someone in their 50’s who has minor arthritis and heart disease can tell you, your idea will send people to the grave earlier. It isn’t that part time work isn’t a good idea, if you can. It does keep one active and connected. Not having to work doesn’t mean you get depressed. Losing all your friends and being dead broke might have something to do with it, though. Sidelining the elderly is more likely linked to depression than “work”.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Nhb-5cB6O2oC&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=population+over+65+in+1850&source=bl&ots=WJdKxVvz1V&sig=E0aHL1pcYgQBMKt3KDGtW1BldIo&hl=en&ei=A15mSrPSC5DUNcKipKUB&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1 (page 3)

The word force comes out at you from the table you included, in an unintended way. Trust me it’s going to happen. More people will be forced to work until they fall over dead. I’m sure as hell not going to be an advocate for that. I can hear Ebenezer’s partner rattling his chains, can’t you?

Posted by: gergle at July 21, 2009 8:43 PM
Comment #284806

gergle:

Hardly.

Most boomers are planning on continuing working past normal retirement age already.

There is even a name for it. Boomers are projected to start a new life phase called “Encore.” which is a shorter career that gets boomers back in touch with some of their idealism of their youth.

I think the number of people planning on continuing to work is something like 75%.

Already participation rates for people over 65 are rising.

What we should do is build on this trend.

Current boomers (you seem to sadly be an exception) are the healthiest generation ever.

You should google “boomer retirement” sometime. A whole world opens up.

We have reached a tipping point of sorts. We simply are not going to be able to keep the promises we have made to current retirees. The money simply is not there. There is plenty of money, just not enough to meet expectations that were started in the 1930’s. (or sooner)

Leaving our country is shape so our children can have the same opportunity we have had is a noble goal. Delaying retirement by a few years as well as a few other adjustments can do it.

I just don’t want my kids to live in something like Europe.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 21, 2009 9:01 PM
Comment #284807

gergle said: “Not having to work doesn’t mean you get depressed.”

That is not what the research shows. Being without constructive vocation is not only a common source of depression, but, also highly correlated with the onset of death in a significant number of males, post-retirement. Similar phenomenon to spouses dying within 2 years of each other. Doesn’t apply to all. Does apply to a very significant segment of the population in question.

The term ‘constructive vocation’ does not necessarily mean gainful employment. It does mean meaningful, constructive, goal oriented occupation of one’s time on a daily and weekly regimen, similar to that of being employed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 21, 2009 9:10 PM
Comment #284812

Henry

I think we need the Scandinavian style health care to offer coverage to all. I am not in the envy business and would not support enacting laws to punish those who might want to not take advantage of the offer.

It is interesting that you would suggest something like that. It indicates that much of what passes for “justice” is more properly characterized as envy.

Posted by: Christine at July 21, 2009 10:13 PM
Comment #284820

David:

You are very right. Depression and alcholism are issues in the retirement years.

A part time lower stress job is very healthy in retirement. Of course it doesn’t have to be for money.

I our current discussion advocating a national policy for increasing the labor participation rate for americans over 65 is a very realist and if done correctly healthy option to “bend the curve” on medical expenses. Why not give tax incentives to businesses who hire retirees.

Oh by the way, go into a Home Depot and look at the retirees who are working, and tell me if they look like they are suffering.

I have a client (doctor) who is 73, and has no plans to retire. She works 30 hours/week and is doing great.

In a situation like now where we have NO MONEY, it seems logical that we have a national policy to “within reason” encourage retirees to stay off SS and mostly medicare.

Personally, I would rather help the young, than healthy vibrant affluent seniors. Of course when there are medical issues, or when a person has had a physically intensive job that is another thing.

I’m also not saying people should work till the grave. Adding a couple of years to our work can make s huge difference in the budget numbers.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 22, 2009 10:31 AM
Comment #284821

health n.(OED) [OE. hoelth= OHG. heilida, -itha, -idha:WGer. type *hailia, f. hail-s WHOLE, HALE]

1. a. Soundness of body; that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently discharged.

1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) II. 13 Bretayne passe Irlond in faire weder and nobilte but not in helthe.

c1611 CHAPMAN Iliad XV. 683 There is no mercy in the wars, your healths lie in your hands.

1851 CARPENTER Man. Phys. (ed. 2) 253 The accumulation of nutritive matter in the blood is so far from being a condition of health, that it powerfully tends to produce disease.

1860 MILL Repr. Govt. xv. (1865) 116/1 It is ridiculous that a surveyor, or a *health officer..should be appointed by popular suffrage.

1900 Congress. Rec. 5 Feb. 1520/2, I am not making this speech for fun, nor for my health, nor as an oratorical exercise.

1928 WODEHOUSE Money for Nothing ix. 196 What if that health-farm was a mere blind for more dastardly work?

1935 Economist 7 Sept. 456/2 Twenty-five years ago only the germ of our present health services existed, in the form of the old Poor Law and a rudimentary Old-Age Pension scheme.

1970 T. LILLEY Projects Section x. 123 You will not..have inoculations to bring your Health Card up to date.

1970 G. GREER Female Eunuch 19 The revolutionary woman must know her enemies, the doctors, psychiatrists, health visitors.

1971 Postgraduate Med. July 177/1 (title) Are we expecting to dwell there in health..through the operation of a multifaceted testing center run largely by nonphysiciansthe *health maintenance organization (HMO)?

(b) in the United States: the name of boards of commissioners for controlling sanitary matters, esp. in reference to contagious and infectious diseases

health care, orig. U.S., care for the general health of a person, community, etc., esp. that provided by an organized health service.

health fascism n. depreciative (chiefly Brit.) the attempted regulation of others’ behaviour (esp. smoking habits) in the interest of their health, perceived as intrusively authoritarian or as an infringement of civil liberties.

health insurance, insurance against financial loss through illness.

Posted by: ohrealy at July 22, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #284824
i guess when i see a homeless person, i will go out of my way to help w/food and money

Many people do.

But only a real liberal will pull a gun on other passers-by and make them give the homeless person food and money as well.

That’s not charity, that’s self-righteousness carried to an extreme. It is also the basic modus operandi of the Democratic party today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 22, 2009 12:58 PM
Comment #284825

Paul,
I realize your are preaching to the choir but your post was right on. Here is good ol’ bleeding red Kansas our Senators and Reps, all but Dennis Moore, are locked stepping robots answering only to the boss of No and “We Hate Obama Club.” Those of the Go P could care about their bumper sticker mentality of “Country First.”It looks good on a bumper sticker and the slogans are easy to remember but the senament behind the stickers are forgotten.
Now about the “Blue Dog” Dems, just maybe Will Rogers was correct,”I belong to no organized political party, I am a Democrat.” We would not be a major party if it weren’t for the Dixie-crats. They kept the party going until 1948 and/or Nixon’s Southern Stratagy. It even goes back to when the GOP was liberal and the Dems were conservative. However, the GOP, now called the Go P ers, have taken conservatism to new depths of hate and fear.

Posted by: C.T.Rich at July 22, 2009 1:26 PM
Comment #284831

“Either we achieve healthcare reform now or we will be deprived of decent healthcare.”

I don’t know about anyone else but I already have decent health care. I also think it’s a stretch to say that any significant number of those without decent health care now will have decent health care when one of these bills becomes law.

But let’s talk about reform. I’m probably what you’d call a centrist and I see very little in the bill I’ve seen that has anything that can remotely be described as reform. They do nothing to curb the exorbitant profits of the most wasteful parts of the system, the for-profit insurers. I see nothing that will prevent people like me with “pre-existing conditions” from being de-selected by the for-profits. I see nothing that will help rein in spiraling price increases on the less profitable, more efficacious treatment regimes.

I’ve also yet to hear that everyone employed by the federal government, including every from top to bottom of all three branches, will be required to follow the same laws as we ordinary citizens rather than having a separate system such as they now have for health and retirement.

In its current form, I urge my representatives to vote against this so-called reform.

Posted by: Greg House at July 22, 2009 6:17 PM
Comment #284833

rhinehold - just like a typical republican you are so victimized. if you liken living in the usa to being robbed at gun point every day why do you stay?

very palinesque of you to be so tortured.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 22, 2009 6:50 PM
Comment #284836

tc

“For one, the government doesn’t get a multi-million dollar bonus to deny you health care. If laws are put in place those making decisions will have clear, public guidelines as to what acceptable practices to give the consumer at least some recourse and process that will not be decided by someone with a financial stake in the game.”

the gov’t won’t have a financial stake in the game? with a fixed annual budget thier stake IMO will be greater than that of private insurers, and with the provision in the house bill that doesn’t allow for new private plans to be offered after the gov’t plan starts you’ll be out of luck if you don’t like the gov’t option. doesn’t sound much of a choice to me.

Posted by: dbs at July 22, 2009 8:08 PM
Comment #284837

dbs

I lived in Europe and experienced health care there. I support a Scandinavian style health care system because it will cover everybody. But if you have good heath care insurance today, you WILL get less under any government run system. That is the experience of the most successful countries with national health care. We assume we won’t suffer the terrible effects of the less successful ones.

We should all be honest. This is driven by necessity to cover all Americans. You just cannot do that w/o cutting something. It is not a good deal for most of us if we like what we have.

Posted by: Christine at July 22, 2009 8:32 PM
Comment #284845

Only in the land of “Special Interests” can we be in the position where we can’t afford to do any thing about the high cost of health care. We just don’t have enough money to stop the spiraling cost of health care.
Government isn’t inefficient, it’s full of thieves! There’s a revolving door between the government and the corporate world. Add the that the messed up way we elect leaders. (Who ever has more tv adds wins!) And we have a recipe for failure.
D.a.n is right At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).


Posted by: Mike the Cynic at July 22, 2009 9:44 PM
Comment #284857

I’m so confused. Money is taken out of paychecks to go and help other people. In one case a girl dies because she’s denied a kidney transplant. In another case an executive makes a Rolls Royce payment. Or is it the same case?

Posted by: Stephen Hines at July 22, 2009 11:07 PM
Comment #284861
rhinehold - just like a typical republican

Except I’m not a republican, so strike one…

you are so victimized

It’s not victimhood, just the reality of the situation.

if you liken living in the usa to being robbed at gun point every day why do you stay?

I didn’t ‘liken’ living in the US as beingn robbed at gun point, I pointed out the reality that using the power of government to take wealth from one person and give it to another against their specific consent is theft. And it is exactly what you are suggesting we do.

How does it feel to be selfish enough that you won’t give money to poor people unless ‘everyone else does too’? I’ve seen the Democrat tax returns compared to the Republican tax returns, it seems a little blind to suggest that its the democrats that care and the republicans not…

It’s easy to be charitable with other people’s money you know.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 22, 2009 11:18 PM
Comment #284862
I’m so confused. Money is taken out of paychecks to go and help other people. In one case a girl dies because she’s denied a kidney transplant. In another case an executive makes a Rolls Royce payment. Or is it the same case?

In both cases it is better that the people who earned the money decide how, or if, it should be spent.

Posted by: rhinehold at July 22, 2009 11:19 PM
Comment #284871

Tom
Thanks for taking the time on the questions.

I agree that the majority are satisfied with their current healthcare plan.

I disagree that the govt does not get a “bonus” to save money. Each department has a budget and they must come in under budget or wait until the next fiscal year. Healthcare decisions will be made and rationed as needed. You know, while in the military, I had to wait 5 months to have my knee “fixed” and the doctor explained almost all procedures were being put off until after October.

“To be honest, I don’t know how all of this will end up”

But shouldn’t we? Especially if we are expected to support it? I think so.

“I would rather pay more to have everyone covered.”

I would rather be free to make my own choices.

“I say they are disingenuous because they are saying what they are saying because they have all been bribed by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to carry their water.”

So there is now way they are listening to people like me who email them constantly about how much I do not want this and will not vote for anyone who supports it? Come on.

“If what they are saying is in line with “the people” it is largely because the propaganda being fed to everyone has been deceptive but effective.”

I absolutely disagree. Do you also believe all support for govt run healthcare is due to propaganda? Free healthcare for all. Europe is so much healthier and better than us. That stuff bombards people every day.
BOTH sides have their agenda to push, but I believe most people are either for it or against because of who they are. Those who are dependent, want it, and those who are responsible, do not.

I say, if govt run healthcare is so great, then let those who support it, fund it and show us all just how great it is. Show us how effective it is and how worth it was to give up the freedoms to get it.

Posted by: kctim at July 23, 2009 9:33 AM
Comment #284877

kctim - it is false to assume that “those who are dependent want it”. i am fully insured, and not a dependent, but i see a serious need for the poor of this nation to receive adequate health care coverage. i think they deserve this. yes, just for being born in america. i do not think it is fair that only the rich are deserving of health care.

as for searching the constitution for “right to provide health care” - what you didn’t see the fine print “3 leeches for every natural born citizen”.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 23, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #284879

Bluebuss
I believe that the poor should have adequate health coverage if they are on medicare or medicade which,ever it is on welfare, and it is far better coverage then what I have. I have a grandson who has a Heart condition and had to have surgery to repair the condition which will take more than one surgery to do. His mother who is on welfare took him to the number one hospital in the country for heart patients, CLEVELAND CLINIC to have all this done on us taxpayers.

Posted by: KAP at July 23, 2009 12:36 PM
Comment #284893
i think they deserve this.

Great! Start a non-governmental, non-for-profit agency and start giving money to it to pay for it. I would pay too! If everyone who is paying millions and millions of dollars to campaigns to implement this program were to do that, we would be on our way to taking care of the poor who need medical care in this country without pissing all over everyone else’s rights.

Or… is that not REALLY the issue here, bluebuss?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 23, 2009 4:20 PM
Comment #284895

if you can find money for war, you can find money for the poor.

kap - one has to be very poor to qualify for medicaid. that is the catch. many, many are just above the medicaid requirements. which makes them still poor, and uninsured. hope your grandson is doing well.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 23, 2009 4:51 PM
Comment #284897

Rhinehold-
Essentially, a huge charity. How would this nationwide charity be administered? What would this charity be required to do under the law? What would happen in times just like these, when people would naturally give less?

And just what do you think would make any such charity cost effective? You could end up basically with these massive charities eating up much of the money in overhead. It happens with a lot of those “save the children” campaigns you see on television.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Every approach has its price. The price of our current approach is diminishing value and rising costs on something EVERYBODY needs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 23, 2009 5:15 PM
Comment #284900
if you can find money for war, you can find money for the poor.

Interesting slogan, being that it rhymes, but again, another meaningless sentiment. I take it you have read the constitution at least once?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 23, 2009 5:42 PM
Comment #284901
Essentially, a huge charity.

Yes! And it solves all of the issues related to it very nicely and doesn’t impact individual choice and freedom. AND, if I might add, helps revive our lost feeling of personal responsibility that is all but gone now as evidenced by the way this issue has played out.

How would this nationwide charity be administered?

Much like any other non-for profit or NGO. Aren’t there enough examples already out there for you to get that idea? I wasn’t the one demanding its creation though… However, if I go through the trouble of myself creating this organization, spearheading its bylaws to be written up, etc, would you call for an end to the assault on our freedoms that is going on in Washington now?

Because if that is a possibility, it would be worth it definately.

What would happen in times just like these, when people would naturally give less?

Negotiate terms with hospitals and doctors, build a cash reserve during good times, etc. BTW, you assume that charity is down atm?

Granted, they wouldn’t have the power to ‘invent money’ like the federal government, but that’s no free lunch either. It just allows us to be selfish and lay the cost down to our children…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 23, 2009 5:48 PM
Comment #284903
one has to be very poor to qualify for medicaid.

How poor is poor? How poor is very poor? Do you have some number to suggest that the entry limit into medicare/medicaid is too low? Can they afford televisions, cable, cars, iphones/cell phones, etc? Which one of these are more important than healthcare and shouldn’t they be focused on providing the low cost of that (I see lots of adds for family care insurance for as low as 200 a month)?

Do you want to talk specifics or keep the hyperbole racheted up and emotion being employed for cathardic purposes?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 23, 2009 5:52 PM
Comment #284911

medicare: 65 and older, blind, disabled.

medicaid: $8,000/annually per person, or $14,000/couple. to me that is poor. there are specific requirements.

as for reading the constitution, yeah didn’t you see my 3 leeches per each american birth?

as for what the poor can afford, not much. there were many who can not afford the conversion box. that is not a joke. we are talking americans who couldn’t save $40.00.

listen obviously you could care less for the poor, and i am not trying to reach you emotionally, or racheted up anything in you. i am just trying to explain to you that there are people in need. they need medical attention and can not afford it. they do need to rely on other americans for food, and medical attention. i know this is distasteful to you, and you probably do not know anyone like that, but they exist. calling me useless, ignorant, and a hypocrite or any other name does not change the fact that other americans are in need. what they need is medical insurance, and not to be made fun of or ignored. be quippy, superior, and outraged that is your right, but be so blind to those in need. it isn’t a joke, it is peoples lives at risk. american lives.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 23, 2009 7:54 PM
Comment #284914
listen obviously you could care less for the poor

Obviously? What a joke… I run two non for profit organizations in addition to my full time job helping raise money for the poor in my area, I give my time (and always have) helping people when I see that they need it or they ask.

In other words, I put my money where my mouth is, not try to put other people’s money where my mouth is. That’s the real problem of the left. The automatic insulting and looking down upon anyone who doesn’t think that forcibly taking money from people to help others is a way we should be running our country.

I’ve tried to explain it to you but apparently all you can do is attack me, personally (against the rules a bit…) and use tired or Democrat talking points and stereotypes to try to appear superior to anyone you disagree with. All I can say is good luck with that going forward in your future…

Posted by: rhinehold at July 23, 2009 8:01 PM
Comment #284920

nice spin, should look to see who threw the first blog. and, i have never felt superior. i beleive all men are created equal. just a little light reading i have picked up along the way.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 23, 2009 10:07 PM
Comment #284925

Really? Equal? Then walk the walk, why are you supporting a party that treats people differently based on any number of factors? Shouldn’t we really all be treated equally?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 24, 2009 12:53 AM
Comment #284932

bluebuss
“it is false to assume that “those who are dependent want it”. i am fully insured, and not a dependent”

If one is dependent, it is only because they want to be dependent. The person who receives help for a few months and takes advantage of that help and no longer needs help, is not dependent. The person who receives help and does nothing to prevent the need for more help, is dependent. In both cases, the person chose if they wanted to be dependent on others or themselves.

You say you are not dependent, but yet you are arguing that we should depend on govt to take care of those you believe need health insurance? That is dependancy and it only creates more dependancy and what does more dependancy demand? More money from “We the People.”

“what they need is medical insurance, and not to be made fun of or ignored”

I have not seen anyone make fun of the poor on here, but tell me, isn’t sitting back and doing nothing while waiting for govt to help the poor kind of like ignoring them?

Posted by: kctim at July 24, 2009 9:42 AM
Comment #285021

Rhinehold,

Which charities have actually helped a significant number of medically needy people? If they have ever existed, how effective were they?

Pretending that what we already know about the Civil War era and the Depression and how charities fell way short is hardly resounding support for your idea. It’s been tried, and doesn’t work.

That’s why it frankly sounds like you don’t care. This is simply “let them eat cake” speech.

Posted by: gergle at July 25, 2009 4:21 PM
Comment #285038

Gergle:

“Which charities have actually helped a significant number of medically needy people? If they have ever existed, how effective were they?” Just off the top of my head, I can name St. Judes, the work done by the Shriners and the Ronald McDonald charities. I support these efforts and there are many more.

Posted by: submarinesforever at July 26, 2009 9:25 AM
Comment #285110

you can not clearly understand me. these are people who are working full time jobs, which offer no insurance (wal-mart) which need assistance w/health insurance. they are not laying around a couch.

really, all the knowledge each of you seem to have, but you can not wrap your head around the problems of the poor.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 27, 2009 7:49 PM
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